The weather forecast for today was dreary, with rain predicted all day and and drastically plummeting temperatures. I hadn't planned on hiking. Morning brought stormy looking skies, but no rain. After finally finishing his ridiculously sluggish breakfast, Frankie was being crazy, acting like a a typical energetic six-year old cooped up inside. I started fretting about the prospect of an entire weekend of such behavior. It still wasn't raining, so I pulled out my phone and checked the weather again. The chance of rain was 100%, and I could see the wall of storm clouds moving towards us on the radar. However, it was almost 70 degrees out and the front wouldn't arrive until noon. Mobilize!!
I grabbed some snacks for Frankie and our raincoats, and we zipped over to Clark Reservation. It is so close to home, we can get there in a jiffy, which was important today. It was 10:30 am when we arrived, just enough time to make a short circuit. From the parking lot, we followed the Cliff Trail, and Frankie was exuberant, enthralled by the short, steep scrambles. He knows this park so well, and gets so excited about the rocks. He made a big point today of choosing the "trickiest way" for each little climb. We followed the Cliff Trail along the rim of the glacial plunge pool, then turned left on the Saddleback Trail, then right on the Pulpit Rock Trail, so Frankie could have another scramble up that little hill, too.
Where the Pulpit Rock Trail tees onto the Long Trail, we turned left on and headed back towards the Cliff Trail. Frankie was conflicted at the intersection with the Switchback Trail, because he loves the section of the Long Trail between there and the Cliff Trail, with all the "holes" (crevices in the limestone), but also wanted to hike the Switchback Trail. So we did both, first cruising to the Cliff Trail, then re-tracing our steps and taking the Switchback Trail to the Big Buck Trail to the Dry Lake Trail. The Dry Lake was decidedly NOT dry today, filled with sediment-laden water coursing down through the intermittent stream. Ordinarily, such circumstances would warrant a long stop-and-play, but it had started sprinkling, so we kept moving back to the parking lot, just beating the torrential rains.
The entire loop was only 1.7 miles, but it is so good for us to get out in the woods. It was totally worth it!
|the Cliff Trail|
|Pulpit Rock Trail|
|approaching the Pulpit Rock|
|wiggling a loose tooth|
|the dry lake|
|boardwalk over the stream on the Dry Lake Trail|